Five Things We Learned Last Weekend: Dec. 14-17

Angels owner Arte Moreno watches Josh Hamilton put on a jersey during the team’s news conference in Anaheim on Saturday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Just a little help staying ahead of the sports world learning curve heading back into the work week:

Arte Moreno still wants to party. Coming up on 10 years as the Angels’ owner, he says he wants both his team, and the Dodgers, to be competitive, share in the wealth of Southern California baseball. There’s enough room for the two of them to thrive. It’s not a competition. Until they get on the field. “I think it’s great,” he said of the rivalry during Saturday’s grand announcement about the team’s signing of Josh Hamilton, which still leaves the Angels’ payroll for 2013 about $60 million short of the Dodgers. “Those fans have invested themselves (in the Dodgers), some going back to 1958. They’ve had great success. Mattingly has done a great job. I can’t wait to play ‘em. You know how much fun that’s going to be, for fans to argue over who’s stronger? It’ll start in the spring when we play them the first time (in Arizona). I can’t wait.” Neither can we.

The headline looks sexy: “Kobe stunted my growth, says Bynum.” Thing is, Kobe Bryant seemed to agree, not even sarcastically, with the assessment of former teammate Andrew Bynum – who has yet to play a game yet with his new team, the Philadelphia 76ers, because his health continues to be stunted. The real curious quote from Bynum, however, came later, when making a comparison about how the trade that sent him to Philly also brought Dwight Howard to the Lakers in a swap of high-profile centers. “Personally, I think they traded No. 1 for No. 2,” Bynum said. One writer in his story chronicling that quote added that Bynum indicated that Howard was No. 1, not him. Another couple of writers (including the Daily News’ Mark Medina) called it “a clear suggestions he believes he’s better than Howard.” Either way, one is playing, the other isn’t. Which one would you rather be?

The NHL’s players union is invested in voting on whether to decertify, call in for some lunch or take another break from talks with the owners over a labor dispute that has reached 92 days and can’t be much closer to calling it a season than ever before. Skate around the issues even long and see how that works for getting a paycheck. Unions can be useful if there’s a huge moral or ethical issue involved. Splitting hairs over the detrement of the entire existence of professional hockey in North America isn’t the solution. There’s already a shortage of Twinkies and Ding Dongs thanks, in a small part, to misguided corporate ownership and mismanaged employees.

Adrian Petersen needs 294 yards in the last two games of the regular season to break Eric Dickerson’s mark of 2,105 with the L.A. Rams in 1984. The Minnesota Vikings star could have had that alone Sunday against St. Louis but settled for 212 on 24 carries, one of which was an 82-yard TD sprint on a knee that was put together a year ago after he tore two ligaments. Dickerson has gone on record as saying he didn’t want Petersen to break his record. “I don’t watch football anymore,” said Dickerson, lying. “I don’t watch sports. I just see the highlights. I see his highlights and he’s a great player. I don’t want him to break my record, but I wish him the best. . . . I like having the record. I don’t think it’s going to be broken.” Dickerson is starting to sound like a broken record, eh?

We didn’t need another Bob Costas mini-commentary on gun safety to get a better grasp of what happened this weekend in Newtown, Conn.

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Play It Forward: Dec. 17-23

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

The Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe and Lamar Odom battle Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings for a loose ball last Saturday. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

NBA: Clippers vs. New Orleans, Staples Center, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. , Prime:
A nine-game winning streak got your attention yet? “We are playing with a lot of confidence right now and we are trying to make sure that we continue to play the game the right way,” said Clippers guard Chris Paul after last Saturday’s win in Milwaukee. “We understand at some point we will lose again. Right now we are very focused.” The Clippers’ latest roll – the longest since the franchise moved from Buffalo to San Diego way back when — actually started after a 105-98 loss to the Hornets in New Orleans on Nov. 26, which had been their fourth straight defeat. Play along and assume the Clippers’ win streak will hit 10 tonight in Detroit (4:30 p.m., Prime) before the rematch with the Hornets. It could easily be 13 by the time they finish off Sacramento (Friday, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime) and then go to Phoenix (Sunday, 5 p.m., Prime), the way bench players like Matt Barnes and Lamar Odom are playing. “When we play defense and we share the ball, you know what I’m saying, and with the firepower we have, we’re threats.” Odom said. “When they look at the basket, I mean, (shakes his head) we can compete at a high level.”

THE BEST OF THE REST …

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More Q-and-A with Ed Goren

A continuation of today’s media column, the Q-and-A with Ed Goren, the recently retired vice chairman of the Fox Sports Media Group:

Q: Let’s talk about NFL pregame shows – the ones you started at CBS in the 1970s with Brent Musburger have come a long way, and are under the microscope lately with how they report news, especially with players involved in murder-suicides and others involved in DUI deaths. Each network seems to have a different way of reporting these things. How do you the purpose of an NFL pregame show, rather than just as an added a platform for advertisers and a place to raise the testosterone level for viewers leading into a game?

A: I think there are some separate issues there. First, I’m proud of the way (NFL on Fox pregame producer) Billy Richards handled those delicate stories over the last couple of weeks. I think it was a textbook example of how to show respect, understand we play a  game but life gets in the way, and put on your journalistic hat.

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Weekly media column version 12.14.12

UPDATED: FRIDAY 8 AM:
A link to today’s media column, a Q-and-A with former Fox Sports executive producer Ed Goren (with more material coming soon), along with an update on the Dodgers’ TV negotiations, Jay Mohr’s probable place in the new Fox Sports Radio lineup and Larry Merchant’s last boxing telecast on Saturday.
Of course, as soon as we report the Dodgers are steering away from starting their own regional network, Forbes.com reports today that the team is in talks with Dick Clark Productions to explore that very option.

What didn’t make the column but could have:

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Poynter points out the best/worst media errors/corrections of 2012

Among those that made it in this year’s edition as the “best explanation of missing information” was from a sportswriter at the Louisiana’s Rayne Independent, frustrated after not getting all the information he wanted at the end of a local softball game:

 

But did it have to be a fireable offense? It was, and the author explains in the link how much it still haunts him ….

 

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A dozen for the ages: Our 12 So Cal stars for 12.12.12

 

Once upon a time, we took on the task of compiling the All-Time Southern California Sports roster — bestowing ownership to a particular number that a player is best remembered for wearing. Retired or not.

We’ve revived that here to honor the Top 12 players from So Cal who have worn No. 12, based only on our own criteria of impact, longevity and whatever else we decided was intangible:

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Play It Forward: Dec. 10-16

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

NBA: Lakers at New York, Thursday, 5 p.m., TNT; Lakers at Phoenix, Sunday, 3 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
Does Mike D’Antoni really want to go there? The fans in New York (attention Spike Lee) and Phoenix might simply rejoice in watching the former coach of the Knicks and Suns struggle to find a compass with his new Laker team that isn’t even treading much around the .500 mark, or trending as anything worth paying attention to outside of the L.A. hand-wringing. They take a 2-6 road record out for a four-game run this week that begins in Cleveland (Tuesday, 4 p.m., TWC SportsNet) and includes Washington (Friday, 4 p.m., TWC SportsNet).

THE BEST OF THE REST …

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Know Bo? ESPN has the show

ESPN still calls this their “30 for 30″ documentary series — a brand that works, reflecting on 30 films made to commemorate the network’s 30 years on the air. And it just keeps going.

The next, great entry: “You Don’t Know Bo,” where filmmaker Michael Bonfiglio catches us up on the life and 40-yard times of Bo Jackson.

Remember, the former L.A. Raiders’ running back, still running somewhere outside the Seattle Kingdome, once drafted by the Angels, hit an All-Star Game homer at Angel Stadium they’re still talking about … 

He just turned 50 last week. Surely, you knew ….

ESPN had a conference call Wednesday with the Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn prior to Saturday’s airing of the doc, right after the Heisman Trophy presentation (6 p.m.). Some of the highlights:

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Q-and-A with Hal Bedsole: 50 years later, the USC receiver gets his due from the College Hall of Fame

Staff photo by Hans Gutknecht
Hal Bedsole acknowledges the crowd during a USC-Cal game earlier this season when he was recognized for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, which will take place tonight in New York.

With Hal Bedsole’s journey to New York tonight for his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame comes a full nostalgia tour.

It was 50 years ago today when, as a USC junior wideout, he was honored at the same Waldorf Astoria hotel as the youngest member of the College Football All-American first team, the only underclassman picked on the 11-man team with the likes of Heisman winner (and future College Hall of Famers) Terry Baker, Lee Roy Jordan, Jerry Stovall, Pat Richter, Mel Renfro and Bobby Bell, all of whom went both offense and defense in those days.

For this visit, Bedsole will be the oldest of the group of 17 inductees, coming up on age 71, for the College Hall’s class of 2012 — the only player representing the decade of the 1960s.

“Maybe that kind of summarizes this whole thing,” Bedsole said. “If I said, ‘pick a guy from the ‘60s for the Hall, would you pick me?’ That’s what they did.”

The 1959 L.A. City Player of the Year while playing quarterback at Reseda High, Bedsole was a 6-foot-5, 220-pounder who spent a standout year at L.A. Pierce College in 1960 before new USC head coach John McKay came calling.

Bedsole’s conversion to a receiver couldn’t have been more fortuitous.

In three seasons as the go-to man from quarterbacks Pete Beathard and Bill Nelsen from 1961-63, “Prince Hal,” as he was called, set a record that still stands at the school – the greatest average-per-catch for a career at 20.94 yards (with 30 or more receptions).

His career marks of 82 catches for 1,717 yards and 20 touchdowns may not jump off the page by today’s measurements, but in the context of the times, he’s also remembered as a star of the 1962 national championship team and catching two touchdowns in USC’s win over Wisconsin in the ’63 Rose Bowl to cap an undefeated season.

Before leaving to New York, Bedsole, who 11 years ago was inducted into USC’s athletic hall of fame, reflected on his honor and career from his Palm Desert home:

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Five Things We Learned Last Weekend: Nov. 30-Dec. 2

Because we’re not sure any of this would sink in unless we really went through this weekly exercise before the start of the next week:

1. The Lakers fell to 7-5 at home this season. The only other team in the league with close to 12 homes games so far is Oklahoma City. With 11. And the Thunder have already won nine of those. And probably looking forward to the Lakers’ visit there this week.

2. Will future UCLA basketball schedules now make the Wooden Classic a designated road game? It has to, if the Bruins ever use it again to throw a cookie at San Diego State. Don’t even think of scheduling UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton or Orange Coast College. It’d be a brutal disadvantage. BruinsNation.com isn’t even sure if Ben Howland’s squad is even on the radar for the CollegeInsider.Com tournament. Let’s see – he’s got eight scholarship players left on the roster, and four are freshmen. At least we know there’s going to be turnover soon.

3. Instead of a victory parade through Carson, the Galaxy plans a victory party at the Home Depot Center’s tennis center tonight at 7 p.m. Maybe Tim Leiweke will use the occasion to introduce the newest overseas import – a giant Kaka. Just as long as Robbie Keane is pouring shots.

4. In a strange chain reaction, Northern Illinois is in the Orange Bowl, and Louisiana Tech, after a 9-3 season, isn’t going to a bowl game. Not to mention 12-0 Ohio State sliding up to No. 3 in the AP poll with nowhere else to go. It’s kinda complicated. But we offer no logical explanation in either case. Maybe if UCLA just knocked off Stanford . . .

5. Marvin Miller deserves to be in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. And now that he’s died, at the age of 95, he won’t get the satisfaction of seeing it happen. Five times already he’s been turned down, and he could be up for election again in 2014. Meanwhile, what about Scott Boras? Who, him? Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times makes a case for the superagent as well based on his impact “no matter how annoying that may seem to any number of people who love the sport.” Without Miller, there’s no Boras. The hitch, for now, is only players, managers and league execs can be considered (Miller was in the later, based on his activity in the players’ union starting in the mid 1960s). Miller, in. Boras, let’s circle back to that once his biggest cashcow, Barry Zito, is eligible for election as well.

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